Liesl Folks

As the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Liesl Folks, PhD, MBA, oversees the school’s nine departments, including faculty, staff and over 7,000 students.  

Liesl Folks.

Liesl Folks, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Electrical Engineering

"Over the past few years, we have changed in innumerable ways, small and large, always striving to improve the quality of education our students receive and the impacts of our research.  These actions make us stronger, but not complacent; the more we achieve the more we see to be done to rise to the challenge of training the next generation of great engineers while delivering world-changing advances in science and technology."

Contact Information

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

208 Davis Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2771



  • PhD, Physics, The University of Western Australia, 1994
  • BSc with Honors, Physics, The University of Western Australia, 1989
  • MBA, with Distinction, Cornell University, 2004

Professional/Research Interests

Materials design and innovation, technology transfer cycle optimization, magnetic materials and devices, data storage, random access memories


Liesl Folks, PhD, MBA, dean of UB’s school of engineering and applied sciences and a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, is an internationally recognized expert in nanotechnology and magnetism. She holds 12 U.S. patents and is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed technical publications.

Folks served as president of the IEEE’s Magnetics Society (2013/2014) and currently chairs the Congressionally-mandated panel for the Quadrennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, facilitated by the National Academy of Sciences.

She has an exemplary record of support for STEM education initiatives, from her promotion of innovative programs at the Pre-K to12 level, to her role in launching a magnetics summer school program through the IEEE, which provides summer study opportunities each year to nearly 100 graduate students from around the world.

Prior to arriving at UB in January of 2013, Folks worked at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, a hard disk drive company in San Jose, California. Before that, she worked at IBM Almaden Research Center, also in San Jose.

A native of Australia, Folks earned a BSc (1989) and a PhD (1994), both in physics, from the University of Western Australia in Perth, where she subsequently worked as a research fellow. She also holds an MBA from Cornell University (2004).